The beauty salon business landscape has evolved dramatically in recent years, especially due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. Not only do salon businesses have to pay more attention to health and safety, as well as physical distance but now offering online booking is a must.
It’s no secret that the global pandemic has accelerated the digital transformation across many different industries, and more and more consumers now simply demand the flexibility of online reservations. According to the latest studies, 40% of consumers now book their appointments outside business hours, so 24/7 booking service via online booking is now a necessity.
When, for example, a potential client fails to book your salon at the desired moment, they’ll simply book your competitors.
Obviously, you wouldn’t want to lose clients this way, and fortunately, now there are plenty of salon booking systems to choose from that will instantly and reliably provide 24/7 online booking for your salon.
Yet, choosing the right solution between all the different solutions available can be a challenge, especially if you don’t know what you’re looking for. This is why in this post, we will discuss all you need to know about choosing the right salon booking system for your business, and without further ado, let us begin.
Understanding Salon Booking Systems
What actually is a salon booking system?
Simply put, it is a software solution or application that helps you manage your salon business online. While the actual features offered can vary between different solutions, typically the core feature of a salon booking system is a cloud-based interactive calendar where consumers can easily view available slots and book the slot immediately with a few clicks.
With an online booking system in place, the salon can ditch the inefficient and time-consuming phone-based appointment-taking method and offer 24/7 bookings. Without an online booking system in place, you’ll need to employ at least two receptionists working in shifts to answer the phone and not to mention all the hassles of recording the client’s details in a notebook.
However, keep in mind that if you still want to offer phone-based booking as an option, the salon booking system doesn’t necessarily need to be a direct replacement, but they can work side by side.
Salon Booking Systems: The Benefits
Still not sure whether you should invest in a salon booking system? Here are some tangible benefits to consider:
24/7 reservation taking
We have discussed how a salon booking system will allow your salon to offer a 24/7 online booking function, and more options to book your service will ultimately translate to more clients.
Reduce no shows
Another core feature of a salon booking system is automated reminders and notifications, and various studies have suggested how automated notifications can significantly reduce no-shows. Even if a client still needs to cancel, the spot automatically opens on the interactive calendar so you can maximize reservations.
Online payment = you get paid quicker
Optional, but you can require clients to prepay for your services, so you’ll get money faster. This can also help in reducing no-shows: since customers have already paid (at least, partially) for your services, they are more likely to show up.
Reduce double bookings and other errors
An automated appointment means you are reducing or even eliminating human errors, so you can maximize reservations.
More visibility on your salon’s performance
A proper salon booking system will provide you with a dashboard of analytics and reports that will offer valuable insights into how you can grow your salon business.
How To Choose Between Different Salon Booking Systems: Key Considerations
So, you’re finally convinced that your salon needs a salon booking system, but not sure which one you should get among all the options available in the market.
Here are some key factors you’d want to consider:
Cloud-Based VS On-Premise Storage
There are two different types of salon booking systems based on how the information is stored:
Cloud-based: the information is stored on a cloud database, so you don’t need to invest in your storage space, but you’ll need to always be online to use the system.
On-premise: information is kept on your own servers. It can be more reliable and secure, but you’ll need more investments upfront. You will also have to take care of software updates and backups.
You’d want to choose the right type according to your needs and available budget.
Most salon booking systems will offer pretty similar core features, but different systems might offer unique features not available anywhere else.
, for example, offers an advanced scheduling feature so you can easily display different services with different duration and prices on the online booking platform.
Some other features you might want to consider include:
- Customizable widget
- Secure online and in-store payments
- Email and SMS notifications
- Reliable customer and tech support
Ease Of Use
It’s crucial to find the right solution with the right balance between richness in features and user-friendliness.
Make sure you can easily train your receptionists and staff on how to use the solution, or else, investing in the salon booking system will be counterproductive since it will disrupt your operational efficiency instead.
Technology, as we know, is constantly advancing, so make sure to get a salon booking system from a vendor that is committed to regularly updating the software to add new features, improve security, and stay trendy.
Make sure the interface of the online booking function is well-designed so it’s attractive for your clients, but at the same time it’s easy to use.
It’s important to ensure it’s as easy as possible to book your services on the salon booking system. If it’s too difficult and/or not optimized, your clients will simply move on to other salons.
Last but not least, the price of the solution.
The goal is not to find the cheapest solution available, but to find the right value. The basic approach is to get the most affordable solution that offers all the features you need.
While choosing between different salon booking systems can be challenging with the vast number of options available, the best approach is to first identify your needs and budget. Then you can evaluate the available options accordingly.
Investing in the right salon booking solution can significantly help in maximizing reservations, attracting more clients, and ultimately, growing your salon business.